Once a government official says a document is cabinet confidence, neither the information commissioner nor the Federal Court can look at the document to confirm that it is and that the exclusion is being applied appropriately. But this supermassive problem is not being addressed.
Emails in the Prime Minister's Office are at risk of disappearing forever, and need to be better monitored to prevent staff
We can't say 2014 was a banner year for Access to Information in this country. According to the Centre for Law and Democracy, which publishes a ranking of countries that have right to information laws, Canada continues to drop and is now down to number 57 (out of 100). And there are lots of reasons why Canada has dropped.
Any delay in the Commissioner's office means information requesters will have to wait even longer to get their documents. It also means that if the government digs in its heels, requesters can't even get their day in Federal Court until the Commissioner's office finishes its review of the file.
Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault says she doesn't support increasing user fees for access to information requests
In early 2013 I submitted several ATI requests to Elections Canada regarding their handling of the "robocalls" investigation. The questions were simple enough: who's doing this investigation? How much will it cost? When will it be done? The information they did reveal was shocking.
The national police force has apparently stopped responding to Access to Information requests, and one federal department (National Defence) said it would take 1100 days (about three years) to respond to one particular request. They released the documents after the Commissioner took them to Federal Court over the delay.
Suzanne Legault, Canada's Information Commissioner, says federal officials are suppressing freedom of information in Canada. According to her notes, complaints to the Information Officer in the first five months of the 2013-2014 year are up by 35 per cent.
Shhhhh. Don't tell anybody, but the Harper™ government is 'consulting' Canadians on Open Government. Well, sort of. There has been no press release about the consultation program. No ad campaign, either. And the program was quietly started in the middle of summer, while everyone was on vacation. It's almost as if Harper doesn't want anyone to know about it. Crazy talk, right?
As the Harper government braces itself for a steady drip of damaging details as the Senate expenses scandal winds its way